ECU rolls out first interprofessional virtual patient case

 Brody School of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Dental Medicine  Comments Off on ECU rolls out first interprofessional virtual patient case
Apr 282015

Nursing professor Dr. Pamela Reis, left, and nurse-midwifery student Farrah Forney review information about a virtual patient online. The virtual patient is being used in a plan of treatment that includes faculty and students from multiple disciplines at ECU.

Students and residents representing three of East Carolina University’s health sciences programs recently participated in the university’s first interprofessional virtual patient case.

Between April 6 and 10, a dozen nurse-midwifery students from the College of Nursing, four general dentistry residents from the School of Dental Medicine and a medical student from the Brody School of Medicine collaborated online in small teams to formulate an interprofessional plan of care for a virtual patient created by ECU faculty from multiple disciplines.

“Almost all of ECU’s graduate nursing programs are offered primarily online, and because we have students from across the state and from neighboring states, creating face-to-face learning opportunities with learners from different disciplines is challenging and fraught with barriers,” said Dr. Pamela Reis, an assistant professor of nursing in the College of Nursing who spearheaded the project.

Funded through a Health Resources and Services Administration grant, the pilot project employed a new learning management system called the Vertical Education System. Reis said ECU is the fourth school in the nation to use this innovative, web-based learning platform designed by faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The program’s simulated, interactive electronic health record allows the virtual patient’s health history to be saved so the case can continue to unfold over subsequent semesters, Reis explained.

In this first scenario, a young woman was referred for health care by the criminal justice system due to her methamphetamine addiction, a growing problem in eastern North Carolina. This patient also had oral, gynecologic and mental health issues in addition to unmet primary care needs. As her case evolves, the patient will become pregnant and eventually develop a serious health condition that will require continued collaborative care, Reis said.

“We’d eventually like to use the case as a six-to-12-week curricular activity involving all the health sciences, and maybe even span multiple semesters,” Reis said. She added that organizers envision a consortium wherein all universities using the platform will contribute and borrow patient cases from each other.

Dr. Robert Carter, director of the General Practice Residency program for the School of Dental Medicine, said this project “teaches a dentist how to be an effective member of an interprofessional team.

“This exercise increases knowledge of other resources and support systems available to patients – such as different health care disciplines, social services and counseling – which all play a part in helping people with multifaceted needs,” said Carter.

“It also helps learners develop professional relationships across system boundaries, which results in an improved referral process and better collaboration in assessing and treating patients with a variety of problems,” he said.

Vertical Education System administrators can access a wide range of reports detailing team performance as well as an individual learner’s mastery of domain-specific knowledge.

Other faculty members who helped with the project include clinical assistant professor Dr. Janet Tillman in the College of Nursing, and assistant professor Dr. Kelly Reinsmith-Jones from the School of Social Work in the College of Human Ecology. Also from the College of Human Ecology, Dr. Megan Davidson and Dr. Mark Jones in the Department of Criminal Justice contributed their expertise.


ECU opens new cardio-oncology clinic

 Brody School of Medicine  Comments Off on ECU opens new cardio-oncology clinic
Apr 212015


Many oncology patients are at risk for varying degrees of heart damage due to the toxic side effects of cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy, especially older patients and those with preexisting heart conditions.

To address the unique needs of these patients, medical specialists from the Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Hematology/Oncology and the Cardiology Division of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU have joined forces to develop a new Cardio-Oncology Clinic at the East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University.

Clinicians at this new clinic evaluate a patient’s heart function before, during and after cancer treatments using state-of-the-art imaging technology in order to detect whether the patient has suffered heart damage or is at risk of developing heart problems.

Cardiologists with training and expertise in advanced heart imaging, such as cardiac MRI, guide patients toward the most appropriate forms of imaging for their particular situations.

When heart damage is detected, the cardiologists and oncologists work together to adjust cancer treatments, prescribe heart medications or refer patients to other cardiology specialists within the East Carolina Heart Institute, including those who focus on congestive heart failure, electrophysiology or interventional cardiology.

For more information or to make an appointment call 252-744-3476.

Apr 072015

SpeakingVolumesPosterLaupus Library will host a new discussion series entitled “Speaking Volumes: A Book Discussion Series Focusing on the Health Sciences.” The series provides authors with a different venue for dissemination of their work and serves as an opportunity for others to learn more about the culture of the Health Sciences and the work done by ECU scholars and researchers.

The inaugural program will showcase the recently published book, Global Health Nursing: Narratives from the Field. The event will be held on April 16th at 4:30 in the Evelyn Fike Laupus Gallery located on the 4th floor gallery of Laupus Library.

Chapter contributor Dr. Kim L. Larson from ECU’s College of Nursing will present along with book editor, Christina A. Harlan (UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing) and chapter contributors Marie Collins Donahue (UNC Children’s Hospital), Christina Martinez Kim (Duke University Health Systems), and Ruth-Ann McLendon (Johns Hopkins Medical Center).

Introductory remarks on the inspiration for the work will be followed by chapter readings from all four contributing authors. Each will share their own perspectives and experiences as nurses serving as front-line providers in global health. The authors will recount their personal experiences with the Ebola epidemic, treating patients with AIDS, and the challenges and rewards of confronting vast health disparities and providing health care in other languages and in different cultural contexts. The program will end with a question and answer session.

“Speaking Volumes” complements Laupus Library’s Health Sciences Author Recognition Awards program, which honors Health Sciences faculty and staff for their published research and scholarly contributions to their area of study.

You can find out more about Global Health Nursing: Narratives from the Field on the Springer website at

The event is open to the public. For more information please contact Kelly Rogers Dilda at

–Kelly R. Dilda
Laupus Library

CAHS Alumni Develops Occupational Therapy Video for Navy

 uncategorized  Comments Off on CAHS Alumni Develops Occupational Therapy Video for Navy
Mar 312015

College of Allied Health Sciences alumni and Navy Occupational Therapist Lieutenant Junior Grade Trey Elam is sharing his passion for occupational therapy through a new video developed for medical officers and prospective occupational therapists interested in a career in Navy Medicine.

Produced by the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, the video features actual occupational therapy patients acting out occupational therapy treatments, showing the capabilities and services of the Navy Occupational Therapy Program and illustrating the unique role and benefits that Navy Occupational Therapists provide to patients recovering from life altering injuries or illnesses.

Navy Occupational Therapist Trey Elam uses a driving simulator in a treatment session with a patient in the Navy Occupational Therapy video.

Navy Occupational Therapist Trey Elam uses a driving simulator in a treatment session with a patient in the Navy Occupational Therapy video.

“Some Medical Officers that are assigned to Marine Corps units do not have much experience with OT and aren’t aware of all we can offer,” said Trey, “ Having the video to train new residents is a valuable tool so when they get out to their respective units, they will know just how much OT can offer.”

Through the video, potential occupational therapists and medical officer learn about how occupational therapists help restore mental and motor function to improve the lives of their patients. The video also focuses on how Navy Occupational Therapists strive to evaluate patients and their routines, determining the restorative potential of the skills necessary to continue their daily activities.

Using actual patients treated by Navy Occupational Therapists, the video shows demonstrations of standard occupational therapy treatment plans that help patients not only return to everyday tasks such as brushing their teeth or bathing on their own, but to also return to active duty.

Trey, a 2012 graduate from the Department of Occupational Therapy and now an occupational therapy division officer at naval hospital Camp Pendleton, decided to pursue a career in occupational therapy after volunteering with the physical therapy and occupational therapy departments at the Caswell Center for the Developmentally Disabled in Kinston.

“Both are valued services, but I was more drawn to the functionality of what OT provides to patients and how innovative the OTs were to create just right challenges and adaptive equipment for my brother who is autistic and a resident at the Caswell Center,” he said.

After dedicating 100 more volunteer hours at the Womack Army Medical Hospital for Physical and Occupational Therapy, Trey found his niche in the outpatient Orthopedic setting.

“I fell in love with splint fabrication and post-operative upper extremity rehabilitation.”

Trey says his love for the field was nurtured by Dr. Leonard Trujillo, current OT department chair and retired Air Force Major.  Serving under Dr. Trujillo’s supervision during his graduate research project and seeking his advice regarding military OT was instrumental in developing Trey’s passion for OT according to Trey.

You can learn more about occupational therapy in the Navy visit this site:


Match Week 2015!

 Brody School of Medicine  Comments Off on Match Week 2015!
Mar 172015

We are in the midst of an exciting week for our senior students at the Brody School of Medicine – Match Week! As medical students near the end of their third year, they begin to apply to residency training programs in their specialty of choice. These applications are completed in September of their fourth year, and students are invited for interviews from October through January.

At the end of the interview process, each student submits a ‘rank list’ through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). A rank list is an ordered list of programs indicating where the student would like to train. Residency programs also submit their rank lists through the NRMP, indicating their preference as to which students they would like to have in their program.

On Friday of this week, all medical students will find out where they will be completing their medical training. This day is called ‘Match Day’. At noon, in the Brody Auditorium, surrounded by their family and friends, our students will each receive an envelope with a letter inside letting them know where they matched. The event will be televised on ECU-TV.

The Brody School of Medicine Annual String of Pearls event will also be held this week, on Thursday, in the Brody Auditorium at noon. Our senior medical students have chosen eight faculty and staff mentors to give them five minutes of wisdom as they graduate from medical school. This is a fun event with wit and humor mixed with celebration. This event is open (and free!) to all Brody faculty and staff.

I look forward to celebrating with the Class of 2015 – I hope that you will join me!

Susan Schmidt, MD
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine
Brody School of Medicine